Happy Hump Day!
With my bikini competition and the Marathon here in Boston I figured I’d wait a few days to post an update. But boy has it been hard to wait! So many great things going on with Crossroads of Fitness!
Today’s update will include 12 great fitness reads, my client Lindsay’s Powerlifting Meet reflection, my new nutrition goals, my peak week training schedule (including some workouts for you to try!), a #Daretoeat client update, a #Daretomove Client’s Powerlifting story and chin-up PR!
As for me, since the last update I was focused on my bikini prep and writing.
I had my first Writer’s round last week and it went really well. I met with a group of six people. Two were editors/group moderators and four of us were submitting work for review. Of the four of us, one is a cancer survivor breaking out of her newsletter audience in hopes of possibly publishing some of her short essay stories, one lady writes about cats and has written several books and another famous writer was in the group– he had published two books and one screen play and is currently working on another book.
It’s safe to say I was not the smartest person in the room– which I loved. I always say, you MUST ski with better skiers.
In personal news, I had a lovely time back home in Indiana last weekend. On Friday I went out to my dad’s hangar and watched him take off to practice flying for the Indianapolis 500 fly-over. My grandpa flew a P-51 over the Indianapolis 500 Race for decades and some of those years my dad flew his F-16 over the race with my grandpa.
Now the Race asked if my dad wanted to fly the P-51 Mustang over the race as Grandpa used to do, and he said yes! Step one of preparing for the Mustang training is practice flying in the T-6.
Little known fact– I got to fly backseat of this same plane in 2010! I flew the entire time with the canopy open too! Rookie mistake….
On Friday night I had a fun sleepover with Fingers as we prepared for the bikini competition and Saturday was the big competition. Read more about it here!
If you are curious about my first bikini competition last fall read about it here!
On Sunday, believe it or not, I ran a little over 5 miles on my old running route! Inspired by the beautiful weather in Indy I jogged without music while my mom rode a bike alongside of me. We did it in about 47 minutes. I was pretty stoked. My quads were feeling it Monday. If you are inspired to get out and run in the pretty weather, check out this article for some quick running tips!
Read on to take a peak inside my bikini “peak week” training, my nutrition goals for this week, try some of my workouts if you are looking for quick circuits, and stay tuned for hotel workouts next week!
It’s been about two weeks since I posted an update. The last update I posted included my training as I worked around a sprained SI joint. After two life-changing massages, trap bar deadlifts, moderate resistance/volume work-outs and going to the chiropractor every other day I feel good as new.
Since Sunday the 3rd of April I have been doing some slightly heavier lifts. I am going to highlight the more intense lifts I did in the past two weeks and summarize my take on “peak week” this time around.
In my opinion it was not a true “peak week” due to proceeding with caution when it came to my lifts.
Sunday, April 3rd: high-bar back squats.
This day was important because I decided to back squat for the first time in a few weeks. By placing the bar higher up on my back I was able to keep my chest up taller on the descent and feel less pressure in my hips.
Playing with the bar position on my back. I haven't done back squats in 3 weeks. Scary thought as a Powerlifter who's competing in a bikini competition in 15 days! – Most of you know I'm a LOW bar girl, fo sho! I love how locked-in I feel in that position, but it's straining my back right now, as I work through this injury. – Although I felt less balanced (probably because it's new) and slower (from less confidence), I really liked the way it felt! High bar back squats may be my new jam for a while! #daretomove #daretoeat #CROF #skwats #bootybootybooty
After 10 sets of 5 with 135, 145 and 155, I did from pumps (3×25)and clam shell pop ups (3×12 per side).
See an old video of clam shell pop ups below.
Monday April 4th: Bench press
All I had time for was 3 sets of 10 bench press with diamond push ups in between sets.
Tuesday: Flips and FUN
I was craving a good deadlift but I knew m chiropractor would kill me if I did sumo lifts so I decided to wait another week and stick with 3 sets of 8 trap bar deadlifts, with my belt with only 185 pounds.
After the deadlifts I did the following circuit:
- deficit kettlebell deadlifts for that booty burn 3×12
- two weighted chin-ups with the 16 kg kettlebell (3 rounds)
- front squats with 95 pounds, 6 reps
Before my Cyc class Tuesday morning I had some fun doing flips since I was feeling better 🙂 Holding off on deadlifts was necessary but I couldn’t hold back from flips.
Wednesday: mixed strength and conditioning
- Chest Press 5×5 (heavy AF)
- narrow presses with dumbbell 3×12 45 sec rest in between sets.
- Push-ups, 10 reps; chin-ups 5 reps (5 rounds)
- 5x 30 second sprints
- 5x 20 seconds of ball slams
Friday: low-bar back squats
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how back squats with my normal form felt; and seeing as though they felt awesome I kept going and hit a simple set of 5×5. After squats I did crawling with kick backs (shown below) and some hypers.
Saturday: mini-arm circuit and cardio
Circuit 4 rounds:
- straight bar bicep curls 10 reps
- 5 hammer curls, 5 bent over hammer curls, (4,4, 3,3 2,2 1,1=1 round)
- close grip bench 10 reps
- diamond push-ups 8 reps
Stair master 40 minutes.
Sunday April 10th: finally back to sumo deadlifts!!!! Last heavy day before bikini competition.
I typically try and do my last heavy lift *before* my massage during peak week.
I was happy to hit 3×3 with 215 pounds, before I did some posing Sunday morning.
After 3×3 I did some 1.5 RDLs with 135 pounds (which totally wrecked my abs!!!) with tricep push-downs and sets of 5 bodyweight chin-ups.
Monday: Cardio via Cyc and morning stair master (40 minutes)
Tuesday: front squats, push-presses, 1.5 glute bridges and bicep curls.
On this day I went heavy-ish. I used my belt for the front squats and push presses even though I only did 95 pounds for both and felt *very* ready for a massage Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday: sprints + power walking
I did eight 30 second sprints and walked for 30 minutes.
Thursday: Stairmaster + goblet squats and kettlebell swings
I did the goblets at a quick tempo with kettlebell swings to fire up my glutes before getting on the stair master.
Friday: goblet squats, chin-ups, push-ups, bicep curls and stair master
I did just enough the day before the competition to break a little sweat and see my muscles fire up and fill out after eating carbs for the first time after three lower carb days.
Overall theme of peak weak:
- Moderate intensity
- cut out heavy lifts by Tuesday
- include more cardio (finally) I use it as a secret weapon since I don’t do much of it regularly (besides Cyc Fitness 2-3 times a week)
- less weight, higher reps.
Nutrition and final Bikini Stats:
Last fall I was 112-113 pound during peak weak and ended up walking on stage at about 114 the day of the show.
Since last November I gained an entire inch around my glutes and around my waist! Overall I was thicker, but not upset about it! I kept tabs on my weight, kind of, but the last time I weighed in was actually after eating Wednesday morning before the competition and I weighed 118.
It’s safe to say I walked on stage this time about four pounds heavier. The interesting part is that I felt as though my abs looked about the same (meaning they were barely there LOL) my waist was simply not as narrow.
Having a lot of other things on my plate this time around the bikini competition has not been my main focus (as it was last fall) so I am pleasantly surprised with how I looked after not giving the prep as much time and effort as I did previously.
I think it goes to show how consistent effort over time is what matter with FAT LOSS AND MAINTENANCE …. keep doing what you are doing and give yourself some breaks, enjoy the ride and you will look good, feel good, and perform well.
Also, you should compete for fun, because you enjoy the day, not because you are chasing approval from anyone.
Could I have been leaner? Sure.
At this NPC Natural Indiana competition we were allowed to ask the judges for feedback. I did not stick around to ask (because it was late and I was more concerned about getting some food and getting to bed!) so I will share my mother’s expert opinion about my stage presence and the stage presence of my competitors.
And let me tell you, after sitting through hours of two different competitions she is quite the judge!
According to my mom looked like “a petite, feminine ballerina” this time around. The girls who took top five were “MUCH stronger looking and built” than I was.
Hearing the aforementioned was a shock to me!
Watch my posing routine below, as well as Fingers’ routine! It’s safe to say we were feelin’ sassy.
After not taking top five in pre-judging we decided to have as much fun as possible with it. And after eating Burger King and Swedish fish for lunch, we decided to just wing it! We weren’t going to give up 🙂
As far as my nutrition went during peak-weak I did not stoop below 1200 calories and I only did four 1200 calorie days this time around. I am too active with coaching to take things any lower, sustainably.
My current nutrition goals are the following:
- use less spray butter (only use on oatmeal in the mornings)
- eat veggies three times a day, three different kinds
- eat a hard boiled egg at least three times a week
- No more tilapia for a while! Include more chicken and beef 3 times a week
- eat at least three apples a week and work bananas back into my protein shakes
Making these simple, attainable goals gives me hard and fast guidelines to work with as i try to add back in more healthy foods and maintain leaness but incorporate nutritious foods I’ve been missing.
You see, when the calories and carbs dip lower in the final weeks of prep I tend to cut out veggies, fruits and higher fat foods leaving me with a lot of protein powder, tilapia, oatmeal and rice cakes to eat.
Making five simple, attainable goals helps me kick serious booty with my own nutrition.
I recommend trying it!
Whether you are coming out of a bikini prep or simply trying to instill better eating habits pick 5 mini-goals that are realistic, write them down and then slay!!!!!
What I’m Reading:
- How to Create a No Calorie Counting Diet Plan via Anyman Fitness
- 3.5 Reasons you should train differently for fat loss via Tanner Baze
- 5 Most Basic Training Principles Every Successful Personal Trainer Must Know via The PTDC
- 8 Prehab-Rehab Exercises that Belong in Every Training Program via Dr. John Rusin
- Why eating “healthy” hasn’t worked via Crossroads of Fitness
- Fuck Your Excuse via Tanner Baze
- Why I’m Quitting Bikini via Crossroads of Fitness
- Fat Loss Considerations for petite females or those with slow metabolisms via Anyman Fitness
- Your Brain on Movement: Challenge your nervous system via Breaking Muscle
- 5 Fat Loss Tips to get you ready for summer via Ryan Wood Training
Client Spotlight: Lindsay’s First Powerlifting Meet
My client Lindsay had a nine week Powerlifting prep. She never missed a training day and lifted heavy three days a week. I have never been more proud of a client’s dedication and determination to get stronger. Lindsay is a teacher and a mother and basically a superhero– she does it all!
I watched in awe as week after week her numbers went up.
Her final numbers at her first powerlifting meet were:
But those numbers don’t tell the whole, inspirational story. I’ll let her tell you in her own words.
Throughout training, I had danced on the border of the 60 kg (132.3 lbs.) and the 67.5 kg (148.8 lbs.) weight classes. I knew I wanted to end up just at 132 if possible. “If possible” meant no drastic cutting, but simple adjustments during the week leading up to the meet to ensure I would make weight. Coach G thought this would be possible without derailing the strength gains I had worked to achieve.
The week of the meet, I cut calories slightly (100-200 a day, approximately) and lowered carbs to around 70-90g/day. I was also mostly resting, only doing light bar or body weight work in the gym, so I didn’t need to eat as much as I had in the two months prior. I tried to get to bed early every night and to visualize the meet and my lifts.
Even though I was well rested, I began to feel sluggish and moody as the week wore on due to the drop in calories and carbs. Nerves also began to set in as I weighed myself each morning and the scale refused to budge an ounce. Luckily, I have enough experience with macro and calorie counting to know the scale is fickle; I had a feeling that by meet morning, I’d be okay. I had also made a decision not to care if I bumped up a weight class. I was after PRs and not a medal.
I nabbed an early weigh-in the day of the meet, and came in right at 60kg. The ref actually said, “You can’t get any closer!” Whew! That was a relief. Part of me already felt like I had already achieved something. After that, I wanted to eat everything I had packed in my snack bag, but I tried to pace. I ate bites of overnight oats with protein powder mixed in, and I sipped on coffee, water, and PowerAde. My muscles started to breathe again (and so did I).
The meet was held in a small gym, but the intimate, and eventually squished space lent itself to a friendly and energetic atmosphere. With only 17 women in the competition, it was easy to talk and make friends. There were several veterans and some other newbies like myself. I asked a million questions, and the vets quickly took me under their wing. Even the coaches they had come with offered some pointers throughout the day.
I could really go on and on about the different people I chatted with and learned from, but that would take entirely too long. What’s important to know is that the crowd, competitors, and referees were a collective coach and cheerleader all at the same time. I had read that powerlifting meets were friendly and supportive, and that is 100% true. This kind of event is unique for many reasons, but I found the level of sportsmanship top be at the top of the list.
As for my personal performance, I was beyond pleased. Since it was my first time truly training for a meet, I was able to hit PRs in all three lifts. On squat, I opened with 170.9, and hit 187.4 on my second attempt. I wanted to hit 200 for my third, and since everything is in kilos, that meant I had to go for 203.9.
I knew it would be a stretch, but since I was at a meet, and why the hell not? I went for it. I felt some trepidation as I approached the bar, but I knew it was possible. I tried to grind through it, but it wasn’t my day to break 200, and I felt okay with that. In fact, the more I reflect on the meet, the prouder I am of that singular failed attempt. I knew I would have regretted not pushing for it, and now I have a clear goal for the future.
Going into bench and deadlift, I thought about the openers I had submitted at the start of the meet. I also thought about whether I would feel more successful the rest of the day hitting all of my attempts or shooting for the moon again. Ultimately, I lowered my openers before each of the events to ensure I would have room for stretch on second and third attempts and so I would hit all six lifts.
My strategy worked, and all of my lifts were good. I ended up pressing 126.8 lbs. on bench and pulling 281.1 lbs. on deadlift.
I counted this first meet as a victory for so many reasons. Technically, I won my weight class, but there were only two of us, and my overall place didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I left feeling like a superhero in regular clothes, and that as my son (3) and daughter (5) watched the lifts on video, they saw “Mommy lift like Hulk.” The sense of community and empowerment that I walked away with was worth every tough training session I had to grind through in the nine weeks leading up to the event. Anyone can powerlift, but not everyone does. Like anything worth doing in life, it takes practice, patience, and simply “showing up.” I encourage anyone who has even the tiniest bit of interest in competing in a meet to do so. Live, lift, and show up.
Meghan’s #Daretoeat Journey:
Meghan is a Pro at exercise. Getting into the gym was never her problem before working with me. In fact, seeing her at two (or three) different workout studios or gyms a day was not unordinary. But no matter how hard she trained, she wasn’t getting the results she wanted before the #Daretoeat program. And the mindset piece was a huge challenge for her; her entire life she lived in the gym. After suffering a terrible injury in 2015 (tearing her ACL) she missed exercising more than anything. As she nursed herself back to good health she was so happy to be back int he gym she was back int he gym more than she was out of the gym. Despite all of the exercise she want’ seeing what she wanted to see int he mirror.
She was determined to keep moving post injury, but also find a balance to see progress in her physique as well as her athleticism, now that she is able to workout again.
After two nutrition cycles, Meg has now lost about 5 to 6 pounds, but more important several INCHES off of her waist, arms and chest and gained ABS!!!
On top of gaining abs she also hip thrusts 230 pounds, deadlifts 175 and doing chin-ups like nobody’s business!
I’ll let you hear her side of the story:
I have never felt better than I do now. I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food, going through phases as many do (but feel like I take a lot to the extremes), just my personality.
I have done the “not eat” thing, the “I am not going to eat all day and then OK, I guess I will eat dinner and make up for the day, plus wine wine wine” to the famous “I can eat whatever I want mode because I am going to take 4 gym classes tomorrow.” NOT HEALTHY!!! Mentally, physically I was exhausted. Exhausted in that I was not feeding by body right, over-exercising and frustrated with seeing NO results.
Last year was a very trying year in many ways, but mostly because I tore my ACL and pretty much thought my life was over. “Excuse me Doctor, I cannot work out again for HOW many months after surgery… 9-12 months till I am at full speed?? Do you know who you are talking to?” That’s it, back to the juice cleanses for days mode, if I can’t work out, how can I eat? And the cycle continued….until I hit the reset button.
Tearing my ACL made me stronger in so many ways and as I continue to get stronger I am grateful for the day I decided to take the chance and email Garrett, actually asking for help from a coach who, from all her posts, client comments, feedback and her own personal journey, knows what she is talking about. Garrett has helped me change how I eat, how I look at food, be able to appreciate taking the time to prep and cook and write down what I am eating to track daily, very eye opening experience for me. It is amazing how wine KILLS your diet when you are being honest about what you are drinking on a weekend night. I also cut back tremendously on eating take-out as I never thought I could make food that tasted good.
I am not saying I do not have fun, it is all about moderation and Garrett truly has shown me how to balance while losing weight and building strength. I finally feel like I am off the hamster wheel and seeing results. It is a mind shift for sure and I could not have gotten to this point without Garrett’s guidance. Oh and also, I did my first CHIN UP EVER…heavy lifting, deadlifts, hip- thrusts. I am so grateful for my body and for Garrett in helping me along in my own journey, making me feel my best ever.
Meghan’s training has included Barry’s Bootcamp classes two to three times a week and heavy lifting once a week with me at Titan Barbell. On the weekends she does spin classes with her husband Mike.
Yesterday she not only did her first ever un-assisted chin-up, she did it TWICE. I could not be more proud of this beautiful, loving sweet kickass lady!
The key to Meghan’s chin-up success, in my opinion, has been the volume work we have done with these.
Starting off with two orange resistance bands for assistance, we did 5-4-3-2-1 cluster sets, anywhere from 3 to 5 rounds.
After three weeks of these clusters we took out one band and worked up to 5-4-3-2-1 clusters, starting with 3-3-3 clusters using only one orange band. That phase was another 3 weeks long.
After achieving 5-4-3-2-1 for sets with the orange band, we dropped to one, thin, green band, and did 3-3-3 for two weeks. Then this happened 🙂
My client Ashley started off as a Dare to Eat member last Summer. She began lifting in her basement with one kettlebell.
At first that one single kettlebell was used for goblet squats, swings, double overhead presses and row.
Now it serves her well on her new pull-up bar…
Ashley is determined to KICK ASS and look stunning in her wedding dress. She has gotten leaner over time and I could not be more proud of her strength gains, post #Daretoeat Program. Here were her progress photos from last fall:
Pretty soon she’s gonna need more plates for her deadlift and a new kettebell to do chin-ups!